Future federal government must support agenda for tourism recovery

29 Apr 2022 |

The Australian Chamber – Tourism is urging both parties to commit to measures that will assist in the recovery, and capitalise on the potential, of the visitor economy.

“This election occurs at a critical time in tourism recovery,” John Hart, executive chair of Australian Chamber – Tourism said.

“The tourism sector has been severely impacted for over two years now, with total expenditure losses since the start of the pandemic estimated to be at $142 billion.

“There’s a lot of ground to make up, and now that the international borders are open and the cruise industry has restarted, it is a crucial that our next federal government to support the rebuilding of tourism businesses and kickstart tourism growth. This will equip the tourism sector to support local jobs and communities, benefitting all Australians.

“We have already seen a commitment by the Coalition Government for targeted financial assistance for hard-hit businesses that will continue to be negatively impacted beyond the lifting of restrictions, including travel agents and tour arrangement service providers. It is crucial that all political parties indicate their support for measures to help these businesses bounce back.

“The contribution for Tourism Australia marketing initiatives announced in the budget was also welcomed by Australian – Chamber Tourism. This funding needs to occur regardless of the result of the election to ensure Australia is in the best position to attract visitors in a highly competitive market.

Australian Chamber – Tourism supports the priority areas in ACCI’s Back Australian Business campaign, particularly around workforce participation, skills development, migration and addressing significant increases in the cost of business insurance.

Specifically, to help the tourism industry get ahead, Australian Chamber – Tourism has today released seven key priorities calling on political parties to commit to, or maintain their commitment to, the following key election priorities:

1. Equip Tourism Australia to remain a world leader in international destination marketing.

Now that international borders have reopened, a greater effort will be required to compete with other countries for tourists, and to ensure Australia remains an attractive destination. Australian Chamber – Tourism is calling for an increase of Tourism Australia’s funding to $240 million per annum with an ongoing domestic role, and an increase to the business events bid fund. This is a critical component to attract visitors in a highly competitive international market.

2. Introduce initiatives to make Australia a cost competitive destination.

To ensure that Australia can restore its standing as an internationally competitive destination, a number of initiatives such as refunding tourist visa fees and scrapping passenger movement charges must be considered. This will make Australia a more cost competitive destination and drive much-needed international demand. In addition, the outdated Tourist Refund Scheme must be improved, which will assist in attracting return visits and increasing retail sales.

3. Target financial support to tourism businesses experiencing a lag in recovery.

There will be a significant lag in the return to pre-COVID-19 levels due to the delay in the ability to attract customers and revenue. It is essential that all political parties commit to providing support measures to hard-hit businesses that will continue to be negatively impacted beyond the lifting of restrictions, including travel agents, inbound tour operators, and the business events sector.

4. Address workforce shortages and build a resilience.

The tourism sector faces severe skills and labour shortages impacting its ability to rebuild and recover effectively. Australian Chamber – Tourism supports the priority areas in ACCI’s Back Australian Business campaign, locking in support for tourism businesses to be eligible for apprentice and trainee wage subsidies. The working holidaymaker fee waiver must be extended, and a commitment to develop a promotional campaign to encourage career pathways in tourism and hospitality.

5. Improve passenger facilitation.

With Australia’s border recently reopened, it is an ideal time to further invest in streamlining the systems and processes for movements of passengers across the border. Passenger facilitation systems must be retooled to enable contactless movement through Australian ports. Additionally, the decision to pass on the full fixed and variable costs of facilitating passenger movements for all new commencing international services, to the ports themselves, is a disincentive to the growth of services and routes. To address this, Australian Chamber – Tourism is calling for increased funding for airports wishing to commence international routes.

6. Help tourism businesses grow their exports in international markets.

The Export Market Development Grants program should be extended to businesses that were previously deemed ineligible This occurs when businesses reach the eight grant limit. The grant program should be extended specifically for tourism businesses that will need to rebuild trust and confidence in existing and emerging markets. This reflects the need for tourism businesses to claim for investment in promotional activities, particularly in the post pandemic scenario where these businesses would most likely need to find new markets or refocus efforts towards existing markets to bring back visitors.

7. Develop Australian products that will attract new and repeat visitors.

Rebuilding domestic and international tourism requires a diverse range of product that will attract new and repeat visitors, promoting geographic dispersal of visitors and ensuring that tourism infrastructure is up to the task. There is an ongoing need to fund tourism related infrastructure including smaller projects that can drive demand and develop quality product by understanding existing and potential markets. A commitment is needed to integrate initiatives that build tourism operator capacity in long-term tourism strategies.

Jack Quail | Media Adviser

P  |  02 6270 8020

E  |  [email protected]

Want to hear more from us?

    NewsletterMedia Releases